Conference Paper BHPS-2009 Conference: the 2009 British Household Panel Survey Research Conference, 9-11 July 2009, Colchester, UK
Has income growth in Britain become more pro-poor?
Assessments of who is getting better off over time typically summarize changes in the
incomes of particular groups, e.g. the poor or the rich, or for subgroups such as lone
parent families and other families with children. These calculations ignore the fact that
these groups change composition over time: the same individuals are not being
compared. To assess whether this years poor (or rich) are gainers or losers, one has to
track the fortunes of individuals using longitudinal data. Using data from the British
Household Panel Survey, we compare the patterns of individual income growth over the
period 1992-1996 with those of the period 1999-2003. We develop methods providing a
longitudinal perspective, and show that the pattern of income growth became more
propoor between periods, and in a different manner than is revealed by conventional
analysis. The results are consistent with the aims of the New Labour government to
reduce pensioner and child poverty.